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posted by martyb on Thursday September 22, @08:16PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

New Webb Image Captures Clearest View of Neptune's Rings in Decades

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope shows off its capabilities closer to home with its first image of Neptune. Not only has Webb captured the clearest view of this distant planet's rings in more than 30 years, but its cameras reveal the ice giant in a whole new light.

Most striking in Webb's new image is the crisp view of the planet's rings – some of which have not been detected since NASA's Voyager 2 became the first spacecraft to observe Neptune during its flyby in 1989. In addition to several bright, narrow rings, the Webb image clearly shows Neptune's fainter dust bands.

"It has been three decades since we last saw those faint, dusty bands, and this is the first time we've seen them in the infrared," notes Heidi Hammel, a Neptune system expert and interdisciplinary scientist for Webb. Webb's extremely stable and precise image quality permits these very faint rings to be detected so close to Neptune.

Labelled image.

Mars Is Mighty in First Webb Observations of Red Planet

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope captured its first images and spectra of Mars Sept. 5. [...] Astronomers adjusted for Mars' extreme brightness by using very short exposures, measuring only some of the light that hit the detectors, and applying special data analysis techniques.

NIRcam images of Mars.

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  • (Score: -1) by Multiass on Friday September 23, @08:44AM

    by Multiass (18520) on Friday September 23, @08:44AM (#1273124)

    Amazing what can be done in a slighty different range of light, even for solar system objects. Well done, JWST!